By Sean Farley
A unique writing course coming to Rowan’s Writing Arts Department in Fall 2019, “Writing Comedy” is a class that aims to delve into the inner machinations of comedic writing and explore the rhetorical relationship between comedians and their audiences. The class is currently the only course that provides a deep examination into the world of comedy and the conventions of its various genres, from slapstick, to romantic comedy, to the classic late-night American talk shows. To get some additional info on the class and its inner-workings, I interviewed Keri Mikulski, a professor of Writing Arts at Rowan currently scheduled to teach the course next Fall
For her, the most important aspects of comedy are a combination of observation, imagination, and a concise delivery that packs a strong punch for the audience. “The toughest part of writing comedy is writing comedy,” she said, speaking on how the writing process requires heavy amounts of imagination and insight to really have an impact. To do this, the class will study a variety of comedic genres that will allow students to broaden their horizons and expand their own material using the techniques learned from these examples. She also wishes to explore some shorter forms of comedy, such as bits and social media posts, with students eventually working on creating their own humorous scenes, satires, parodies, and farcical essays.
In terms of students carrying the lessons from the course into the future of their own writing, Mikulski said “Students will leave Writing Comedy with a toolbox of humor techniques proven to create comedic effects and an understanding of how to use these techniques.” She emphasizes that learning to write comedy can strengthen a writer in every aspect of their work, not just within the comedic genres. Comedy requires a writer to use insight, create concise sentences, and become more aware of their relationship with the audience. Even if you’re not looking to be overly-comedic in your writing, an understanding of how comedy functions on a rhetorical level can still be extremely useful towards elevating a piece into something truly special. Comedy Writing will be available in Rowan’s Fall 2019 semester and Professor Mikulski looks forward to hearing all the laughter that will come out of it.